It’s 0200. I have no idea where I am. It’s cold, I’m wet, and I’ve been walking for hours. This is about the time I ask myself, “Why?” I can only imagine that the 38 other people surrounding me have had the same thought tonight. I couldn’t quit quitting never entered my mind. I was there to get to know myself a little better, I was there to push myself further than I ever had. I wanted to fight my demons of self doubt. I’ve been to bootcamp, however, that was years ago. Life can slowly beat you down and make you forget how far you’ve come. Make you forget the will that you strengthened and the courage you’ve built. I had forgotten. These things hadn’t been tested for a long time and I didn’t know if they were even still operational. So I signed up for a back to back Goruck event. That’s where I found myself now.
Goruck events are self described as a team event fashioned after Special Forces Assessment and Selection. They are led by cadre who are current or veterans of US Special Forces. It is focused on building teamwork by strengthening individuals. Each teammate is required to carry a rucksack (backpack) weighted with bricks. It is Goruck’s belief that they “build better Americans” through these events. This is done with log pt miles of walking, hundreds of pounds of sand bags, and the old classics of pushups, burpees, squats, flutter kicks, and situps just to name a few. When you can’t take another step they will make you walk another nine miles. When you don’t think you can get any colder, you have 10 seconds to be fully submerged in that creek. When you don’t think you can hold the log any longer, you have to carry it another 2 miles. That’s where I found myself now.
Throughout my 20 hour journey I hit many lows. However my will stayed strong, though my body started to deteriorate. I had rolled my ankle three hours into starting the event, the tendons in my knees were screaming at me, my back ached, and my skin was rubbed raw. I push through physical pain to help my team carry 600 pounds of sand bags across 12 miles to Sacramento landscape. Some miles were time capped with only more suffering if they weren’t met. We dug deep to carry a telephone pole weighing in excess of 2,000 pounds for 4 miles. There is no doubt that CrossFit helped me be able to complete this challenge. But even Crossfit does not reach the depths I needed to each that night. There was nothing down there but God and my will to finish. Those two things alone gave me strength. Those two things moved me 26 miles that night. When it was completed and I had received my completion patch it was hard to hold back in motion I had the strength of heart to walk further, to be colder, and to carry more weight further than I ever thought I could. I met and worked with strangers to complete a task. Strangers who went through all the same pains and doubt that I did. Strangers I know I now have a connection with, a friendship, a brotherhood of sorts. They know what they are capable of just as I do. Anything can be done with the right attitude and the right mindset, and that’s where I find myself now. Tested, approved, and Goruck tough.
-Nathaniel Stephen Lyman
Workout of the day for Friday, December 19th, 2014:
12 min to build to a heavy weighted Strict Pull-Up
Hip Extensions Y Holds 2.5lb
30 second Straddle Hollow Hold